DON'T IMAGINE THAT YOUR AUDIENCE ARE NAKED - IMAGINE THE OPPOSITE
May 4, 2016
EMERGENCY CONFIDENCE ON REQUEST: PART 2
June 22, 2016
The day has come. You are in the building. Your meeting or presentation starts in 10 minutes. Your heart is racing, Your thoughts are all over the place. The little voice inside you tells you to scream and run. So what can you do to become calm and composed? Below are my top three tips:
Strike a pose
Pioneered by Amy Cuddy in her TED Talk and later in her book “Presence”, power posing has been proven to boost confidence. Why? Well, the premise is that our thoughts affect our posture and, likewise, our posture affects our mood. We are more likely to feel defensive if we’re slouching and trying to cover the front of our body. It’s a signal to our brain that something is not right because we are trying to make ourselves look small and protect our vital organs which is what we would do if we were in danger. It makes even more sense if you consider that before an important event your adrenaline level tends to go up, exactly the same if you were in danger, so no wonder your body responds the way it does. Conversely, if you are making a power pose, a pose that makes you look bigger and displays your vital organs, you are signalling to your brain that everything is OK and you are in control of the situation. All you have to do is go to the toilet before the meeting and hold the pose for 2 minutes. I have tried it. It works. For more information, watch Amy’s famous TED Talk.
Focus on your breath
When your thoughts are rushing through your head, it’s easy to get distracted and feel anxious. The best method is to focus on your breath or things such as the sounds around you or the colours, textures, etc. You can choose whatever works for your particular surroundings. When we’re sitting in the waiting area, we tend to worry that if we stop thinking about the meeting, we will forget something so it might feel difficult to let go. However, if you are prepared, you are not going to forget anything just because you decided to calm your mind. On the contrary, you are more likely to enter the meeting with a clear head.
Ignore your feelings
You shake the other person’s hand, you both take the lift to the meeting room, you enter the room, you start talking and all the time you hear that voice in your head: “He will not like it, this is the first time I’ve done this so I’ll mess up, he looked at me strangely, dammit, I was supposed to make a great first impression” and so on and so forth. Ask yourself: is that self-talk and those feelings helping me? It’s highly likely that you answered “no”, so how can you shut them up? First of all, do you have evidence that those thoughts are true? Very unlikely. So ignore them. Ignore the thoughts that aren’t helpful. Acknowledge that they are there and then move on. Focus on the purpose of the meeting and your interlocutor. If you do like to worry, as a lot of people do, make a deal with yourself that you will dedicate some time to worry after the meeting.
Part 3 coming soon. In it you will learn what to do during your meeting or presentation to stay calm, composed and confident.
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